America’s Radical, Underground Climate Change Countermovement

The year is 2050; rising seas have inundated Miami, America’s most recent ghost city, since Detroit. A deadly heat wave scorches Chicago, killing thousands of elderly, and a mega-drought has farmers in the Southwest on their knees, praying for relief, as a dreadful dust bowl blankets the fields. America goes hungry.

A flickering television screen in an abandoned home in Miami, its mangled window shutters flapping in the breeze, shows a real live news story of desperadoes breaking down the gates to the DuPont estate and the Mellon estate, both overlooking Nantucket Sound. The properties are owned by the children/grandchildren of Mr. William Koch, whose brothers, David and Charles, infamously led the “Countermovement” against climate science many years ago.

As far back as 2014, Mr. William Koch personally spent millions to block Cape Wind, a vast wind farm once proposed for Nantucket Sound. He opposed the “visual pollution,” as a “spoiler” of his family compound, which includes ownership of the DuPont and Mellon estates.

In the real world today, based upon an actual climate model for the year 2050 by The Weather Channel and by the UN’s World Meteorological Association, the scenario described above is not out of question, except, of course, for desperadoes “crashing the gates.” That’s totally fiction. Besides, The Weather Channel does not speculate about how desperate people will react to climatic cataclysms.

But still, one has to wonder how the future will play out, assuming America’s radical, underground climate change counter-movement prevails, especially considering how they bully Congress, blocking any semblance of a national renewable energy policy.  After all, in their eyes: The “visual pollution” of wind turbines and solar panels lowers property values!

It’s not new news that a well-funded effort to destroy the sanctity of scientific evidence of climate change has persisted in America for many, many years. It is out in the open and written about in countless articles, the Koch brothers and too many others to name, highjack the news and plant stories wherever and whenever possible, all funded by deep pocket billionaires. It’s a blatant right-wing sell-out of everything democracy ever stood for. And, it’s remarkable that everybody knows all about it! It’s absolutely remarkable, but caution is in order because it’s the unknowns behind their intentions that’s most threatening.

The Koch brothers likely have the most recognized name in America, similar to Hollywood movie stars, but in contrast, the Kochs bought their name recognition, albeit not intentionally. Hollywood movie stars “earn it,” intentionally. And, while one is infamous, the other is famous.

But, this story is much deeper than the selfish interests and infamy of the Kochs and much deeper than what appears on the surface. For example, the climate deniers are so paranoid that they go so far as to intimidate scientific journals that publish relatively innocuous articles vis a vis their countermovement, and on occasion, successfully, by way of threatening legal action, they cause retractions of peer-review scientific papers that they find offensive. This is symptomatic of a paranoia-plus personality type, very similar to the mentality of terrorists cell members found throughout Al-Qaeda’s network.

As for one example among many of what appears as a relatively harmless peer-reviewed article in Frontiers in Psychology, “Recursive Fury: Conspiracist Ideation in the Blogosphere in Response to Research on Conspiracist Ideation,” by Stephan Lewandowsky, et al, the study linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking.  Almost immediately, threats of litigation commenced from the very conspiracists ideologues the article referenced.

At the end of the day, and even though the science was rechecked and found to be thoroughly accurate, and scientifically credible, the threats of libel lawsuits had a chilling impact on the scientific research. The paper was retracted by Frontiers in Psychology.

But, more significantly than torpedoing articles, America’s radical, underground climate change countermovement has gone deep underground ever since they discovered Donors Trust a few years ago.

Nowadays, the Kochs, with their billionaire accomplices, secretly donate funds to their countermovement lackeys whilst operating in the shadows, like Al-Qaeda, operating out of caves, and, similar to how the Weathermen operated, aka: the Weather Underground Organization, circa 1970s, whose goal was the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Ever since the Kochs, in concert with their billionaire comrades, went underground, hiding from public view their most sensitive operations, they carry out elaborate schemes of radical plans to destroy climate change science by obfuscation, and their covert machinations scorn the theory of a government “by and for the people.” As to their liking, democracy is dead!

At first blush, their surreptitious behavior, which is remarkably identical to how worldwide terrorists’ networks conduct operations,  “may be construed as a threat to national security.” More on that later.

In that regard, Robert J. Brulle, PhD, professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University, submitted the first-ever peer-reviewed comprehensive analysis of funding for America’s climate change countermovement. ((Robert J. Brulle, Institutionalizing Delay: Foundation Funding and the Creation of U.S. Climate Change Counter-Movement Organizations, Climate Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-1018-7, Nov. 19, 2013))

Dr. Brulle’s scholarly study conducted an “analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States,” Ibid.

He discovered ninety-one (91) CCCMs with average resources of just over $900 million. As such, almost $1 billion is available to these CCCMs to radicalize and obfuscate the climate change issue, as well as other issues, thereby, similar to Weathermen Underground operations, artificially creating confusion and consternation from coast to coast.

Over the past decade, a lot of adverse publicity about billionaires funding: (a) imitation institutions, (b) making up phony orgs, and (c) covertly paying ghostwriters, forced them underground. Yes, like the Weathermen and very, very similar to Al-Qaeda, the CCCM is underground with their henchmen in darkened caves; they’re radical; they’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect their propertied interests.

In point of fact, they may eventually be classified as white-collar terrorists, but they have every appearance of honest, upstanding citizenship. On any given Sunday, you’d probably exchange a smile with them at church without suspecting in the least that you are acknowledging a terrorist.

In that regard, by definition, and according to NSA standards, any group that clandestinely goes underground to sub-rosa disrupt America’s pivotal national interests is labeled a terrorist group.

Is America’s radical, underground climate change countermovement threatening the nation’s pivotal national interests? Is this debatable? Or, is their behavior prima facie evidence of a radical terrorist threat?

According to Brulle:

A number of analyses… clearly shows that a number of conservative think tanks, trade associations, and advocacy organizations are the key organizational components of a well-organized climate change countermovement (CCCM) that has not only played a major role in confounding public understanding of climate science, but also successfully delayed meaningful governmental policy actions to address the issue.

As it goes, they have furtively succeeded in compromising America’s point of view about the threat of climate change; e.g., a Pew Research Center Poll in October 2012 asked: “Do scientists believe that earth is getting warmer because of human activity?” Fifty-five percent (55%) replied “no” or they “didn’t know.” The ‘no” vote registered 45%. As Brulle states, “This reflects a broad misunderstanding of climate science by the general public.” How did this happen?

Here’s how it happened: CCCM operates similar to how Hollywood produces a film or a play on Broadway: “The countermovement has stars in the spotlight [similar to ISIS’s British-accented, knife-wielding man dressed in black] – often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians – but behind the stars is an organizational structure [like Al-Qaeda cells] of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations [same as Al-Qaeda “mainstream fronts” in the UK and France]. If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes,”

Nowadays, the executive producers (equivalent in rank to Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri) for the countermovement are concealing their most discrete activities. Since 2008, the counter-movement’s heavyweight executive producers no longer make publicly traceable contributions through their labyrinth of networks whenever extreme levels of deviousness commands a safer course of action.

Over the years, the countermovement’s principal financial operatives shifted much of their funding to Donors Trust, which is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced, cannot be traced, cannot be traced, cannot be traced… similar to the secretive cells for movement of funds of radical terrorists groups throughout Europe and the Middle East, which also cannot be traced.

As a result, “…only a fraction of the hundreds of millions in contributions to climate change countermovement organizations can be specifically accounted for from public records. Approximately 75% of the income of these organizations comes from unidentifiable sources.”  Again, similar to Al-Qaeda, the funding sources for the counter-movement come out of darkened shadows within a maze of serpentine alleyways.

That is exactly how groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS operate to covertly move money. Otherwise, the world would catch on to their antics very quickly. The old rule of “follow the money” would lead right to them.

Why else would any group, including CCCM, follow such courses of action?

As such, America’s radical climate change countermovement terrorist organization is free to spend as much as they want without any public disclosure, no possibility of tracing back to individual donors. Thus, as it happens, the functionality of the world of climate change denial, “the countermovement,” must operate deep underground and in the shadows.

A few years ago and with no fanfare, a sea change in CCCM’s methodologies for undermining the science of climate change/global warming took place, and now nobody knows when, where, why, or how they’ll strike, same as Al-Qaeda.

But, dissimilar to the pursuit of Al-Qaeda, drones won’t help smoke’em out.


Terrorism is a psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in society.

— Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI), American politician, former U.S. Representative, 1995-2011.

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Robert.